February 19, 2005

Greek church proposes urgent reforms amid 'grave' scandals


By Miron Varouhakis
5:29 a.m. February 18, 2005

ATHENS, Greece Greece's powerful Orthodox Church, rocked by sex and corruption scandals, opened an emergency meeting Friday into wide-ranging reforms that will look at introducing stronger controls over finances.

The 102-member Holy Synod began a two-day session that will look at introducing stronger controls over church finances a rare move by Archbishop Christodoulos, the church leader. The full Synod normally meets every October.

Seldom subjected to public scrutiny, the church's image has been damaged by sex scandals surrounding bishops who take a vow of celibacy and allegations of involvement in embezzlement and bribing judges.

"I humbly ask for forgiveness from the people and the clerics who in their majority honor ... the cassock they wear," Archbishop Christodoulos was quoted as saying by state-run television.

He called the situation "particularly grave."

"Everybody is awaiting our decisions for a cleanup. There is a lot that must be done to put our house in order," Christodoulos said.

Posted by kshaw at February 19, 2005 04:18 PM